Friday, 3 August 2012

The space of imagination......

For all the years I have been teaching, I am always asked why I do so, since I take no monetary remuneration for it. I don't really bother much about offering explanations too often since the question doesn't really have a single definitive answer. What has prompted this involvement is because I recognised how poorly art educational institutions function in India without exception; and barring a few stray teachers, the commitment to nurturing the individual development of students is just not happening in these colleges. 

Teaching art isn't about influencing people to reflect your ideas, nor is it about skills alone. Teaching art is really about human engagement that is anchored in honesty, and the courage to confront life unflinchingly. To create spaces of discourse that open up personal and collective histories to be re-examined in the here and the now of ones life. Those who believe that working in the isolation of their studios alone can keep an imagination fertile or alive, only fool themselves into opiated comfort zones;  merely postponing the inevitable of public interaction that defines the very nature of  disseminating art.  Art demands for a  nakedness of the mind, heart and soul; and this is pivotal to the process of both making art and delivering it to an audience, and cannot be circumvented ever. I perceive this in fact to be  the bed rock that determines a truthfulness of intention for an artist, and offers itself as a methodology to arrive at a clarity of articulation that in turn aids the formulation of  any visual language. Inter-dependecies within art are necessary and need to be explored much more.

One must hold at the very core of our art practice, the belief that the art that we produce truly can make a difference to the world we live in. For this to be a genuine belief, then it is logical to assume that art should originate  from the desire to engage with life, with out pretense or posturing.

It is perhaps a tall order.....but then that is what sets apart really meaningful art from the otherwise banal and trite efforts we see around us in abundance.  As a teacher I continue to wrestle and fight till I make my students and young artists in residence find the truth of who they are.....

.......the reward is an imagination that is alive and alert.....powerful and real....because knowing and feeling will find their exquisite compatibility to deliver un-compromised if hard won.

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